Fire, News, Satellite

Home in Satellite neighborhood near Banks engulfed in flames

A home in the Satellite neighborhood near Banks was engulfed in flames Monday evening, drawing Banks Fire District and neighboring agencies to a large two-story residence to battle the flames.

The fire was quickly upgraded to two alarms, allowing for additional resources to be dispatched to the scene. Banks Fire District spokesperson Mitch Ward said that a small field fire had also been sparked by the residential fire in a message to the Banks Post. At 9:15 p.m., Ward said the fire in the adjacent field had been extinguished.

Around 9:30 p.m., he noted that the detached garage was unscathed.

Ward said roughly half an acre had burned along with a section of arborvitaes on the south side of the home.

Video courtesy Bernhard Racher,, used with permission

In a phone call with the Banks Post, nearby resident Jason Vandehey described flames coming from the large home, which was initially described by emergency officials as being on Hartwick Drive, but photos from the scene show it to be a home on nearby Star Street.

Vandehey said his wife initially saw and called 911 close to 8 p.m.

“By the time the fire engines got here, the whole roof was mostly engulfed,” he said, along with flames coming from the south side of the home.

“The whole roof is engulfed and it looks like it’s…black smoke coming out of the whole house, all the windows and sides,” he said.

Then, a beat later, Vandehey, who was describing details of the fire as they occurred around 8:30 p.m. described the front of the house collapsing.

“Okay, the whole front of the house just fell in,” he said.

Banks Fire spokesperson Mitch Ward said that the homeowners were away when the fire occurred, and that one cat had been rescued from the house and taken to a veterinarian. A dog that had been reported to be at the property was discovered to be at a kennel offsite, and the whereabouts of one cat remain unknown.

Ward said the cat that was rescued was expected to survive after being taken to a veterinarian and placed in an oxygen chamber.

He credited the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for saving the cat’s life.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Also assisting on scene were Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Gaston Fire District, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and, as a precautionary measure, an AMR ambulance.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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